Our standard and most popular print-to-digital packages provide scanning of your original photographs at 300dpi, which has become the standard for prints. The vast majority of prints that exist today were printed at 300dpi or less, so scanning at higher dpi settings rarely yields better results. In fact, sometimes ultimate image quality can be compromised if lower dpi prints are scanned at higher dpi settings (extraneous, unwanted information can be amplified).

While standard 300dpi is the right choice for most photo collections because it consistently delivers excellent results, we recognize there are sometimes reasons to scan at higher dpi settings (up to 1200dpi). For those instances, we offer a “Gold” or “Platinum” option on all print packages. Despite the inference, neither package is necessarily “better” than the standard 300dpi package in terms of ultimate digital image quality. Quite simply, the only difference between the two package categories, and the standard, is that Gold packages are scanned at 400dpi, while Platinum packages are scanned at 600dpi.

So what is dpi and what’s the right choice? Dots per inch (dpi) is a term used to describe the size of a printed image on a physical medium (e.g. paper). Strictly speaking, it has nothing to do with digital image quality. However, the term is widely used interchangeably with the equivalent terms “samples per inch” (spi) and “pixels per inch”(ppi) which can influence digital image quality, as a measure of size (in pixels). Typically, imaging equipment manufacturers use dpi to indicate the final pixel size of a scanned image. For example, a 4 in. x 6 in. print scanned at 300dpi will produce an image 1200×1800 pixels in size. The same print scanned at 600dpi will produce an image 2400×3600 pixels in size.

So will the larger image files from a 600dpi scan (Platinum Pricing) produce better results for your photo collection? Not necessarily, for the reasons cited above, the additional pixels created will not necessarily increase image resolution or quality.

So why offer these package options? Because prints do vary and while 300dpi scans often deliver optimum results for the vast majority of prints, there are cases when higher dpi scans may be desired. Those include cases where the original prints are exceptionally sharp (perhaps shot at fast shutter speeds with a high quality lens) a higher dpi scan may resolve slightly more detail. Also, while 300dpi scans can produce acceptable quality enlargements, 600dpi produce more reliable results when enlarging to twice the original print size.

Bottom-line, we generally recommend our standard (300dpi) package, which has become the standard dpi for photo prints and consistently delivers the best results. For reprint enlargements 2x original size, or unusually sharp original prints, our Platinum (600dpi) option is recommended. Still can’t decide?

Once a dpi is selected, estimate the number of photos in the collection to be digitized (a stack of 100 photos is approximately 1 inch high). For example, to convert up to 500 photos at 300dpi, select our Standard 500 package. For 1000 photos at 600dpi, select our Standard 1000 package and indicate the Platinum option.